This article originally appeared on Velo News
A stellar start list topped by Tadej Pogacar, Wout van Aert, and Peter Sagan headlines the return of the Canadian “Grand Prix” races following a two-year absence.
Other confirmed starters include Michael Matthews, Geraint Thomas, Greg Van Avermaet, Romain Bardet, and Canadian Tour de France stage-winner Hugo Houle for the September one-day races back on the calendar.
The Grands Prix Cyclistes de Quebec et de Montreal, the only races in the Americas on the UCI WorldTour circuit, are back for the latest chapter in a story that began in 2010.
Also read: Races We Love -- GP de Quebec and Montreal
The Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec is confirmed for September 9, and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal is set for September 11. The two races will feature one of the most exciting pelotons ever to compete in Quebec with, among others, four of the top six general classification finishers from this year's Tour de France.
The 18 UCI WorldTeams, plus two wild-card ProTeams -- Team Arkea-Samsic and TotalEnergies -- along with Team Canada, have selected first-rate squads, officials confirmed.
The 201.6km (16 laps of 12.6 km) Quebec City course, with its famous Cote de La Montagne climb, and the 221.4km (18 laps of 12.3 km) Montreal route, which includes the demanding stretch up Voie Camilien-Houde provide the backdrop.
The 147 riders lining up for the start will include the following big names:
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), winner of the Tour de France in both 2020 and 2021 and runner-up in 2022, and winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Il Lombardia in 2021 as well as the Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico in 2022.
Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), the green jersey winner (points classification) at the 2022 Tour de France, winner of nine Tour de France stages, and winner of Milan-San Remo in 2020, the Amstel Gold Race in 2021, and Het Nieuwsblad in 2022.
Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies), three-time road world champion and winner of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal in 2013 and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec in both 2016 and 2017, as well as the 2018 Paris-Roubaix and 2016 Tour of Flanders.
Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroen), gold medalist in the men's individual road race at the 2016 summer Olympics, winner of the 2019 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, and twice a podium finisher, who has also reached the podium in Quebec City six times in eight attempts.
Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), winner of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec in 2018 and 2019, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal in 2019, and a stage winner at the 2022 Tour de France.
Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), third in the 2022 Tour de France, runner-up in 2019, and the winner in 2018, and a member of Great Britain's gold medal-winning team pursuit squad at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Romain Bardet (Team DSM), sixth in the 2022 Tour de France, runner-up in 2016, and third in 2017, and David Gaudu (France) (Groupama-FDJ), fourth in the 2022 Tour de France, are both slated to race.
Other top riders include Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Binam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost), Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), and Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic).
Among the Canadians will be Hugo Houle and Guillaume Boivin (both Israel-Premier Tech), and Antoine Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ), along with an entire contingent of Canadian riders competing.
"We are especially pleased and proud to see the world's elite riders return to Quebec City and Montreal," race organizer Sebastien Arsenault said. "We've worked hard over the past two years, which have been particularly challenging, to make sure that the story would continue.
“Thanks to our teams and the confidence of our public- and private-sector partners, we've ensured that our races will go on. We are deeply touched by the WorldTeams' enthusiasm to return to our shores, the quality of the riders who'll be crossing the Atlantic to compete in the only races in the Americas on the UCI WorldTour calendar, and the show of support from the global cycling community as well as the fans during these two years. I'm convinced that the 2022 races will be remembered for a long time to come."
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